We have had whales in Denver, this area used to be an ocean, but the whales we saw today were in the museum. When I saw that a whale exhibit was coming to Denver, you know I made sure that it would turn into a co-op so that we could see it with our homeschool group.
Grace has been counting down the days to this exhibit since co-ops started.
I’m so glad we got to go to CA before this and see real whales.
The exhibit was a mix of skeletons, some hands-on stations like diving with a sperm whale, the sound booth where you could hear whale sounds, make a dolphin booth where you could fine tune your dolphin to ride the waves better, movies about whale riders (Maori people), pictures of whales and more. There was a giant blue whale heart you could climb through, it’s big. We were happy to see some Vaquita models, but in the stranding and extinction part of the exhibit they didn’t mention the over-fishing and net traps that have the Vaquita down to 98 porpoises.
They had a section of the exhibit about the Maori people of New Zealand and their affection for the whales that they used for food and for tool making. You can learn more about the Maori people here.
They had wonderful artifacts like:
A tabua (carved whale tooth),
waseisei (whale tooth necklace),
hoeroa (bone staff)
The docents they had there had very little knowledge of whales, the museum should have placed Grace in there instead. After talking to one of the docents, my friend had questions about what he said. No he didn’t pronounce Narwhal correctly, no those bones at the end of the whales are not support for ‘flippers’ (Grace told her that it is the vestigial ‘foot’ of the whale.) He didn’t have a clue. Where did the oil from the Sperm whale come from? The spermaceti in the melon. I could go on, I know they are just volunteers, but really, read the handouts. In the stranding section we saw a euthanasia device used on Sperm whales, that was a little sad, but those whales are so huge that when they strand they are too heavy to move and most likely have internal damage to their organs which collapse when they don’t have water to buoy them. The larger sperm whale (male) skeleton was one of the many stranded Sperm whales in Auckland. The whale was given to the Chief as a gift and was named Tu Hononga. There was also a picture of a Sperm whale grave (59 of them) in Poverty bay on Okitu beach. There was a small section about ambergris, that’s like….whale vomit, but it doesn’t come out of their mouth…now every time we go to a beach I’m going to need to bring a match and a needle so we can test every piece of brown rock that looks like ambergris (cool fact, it was used as a spice in the Middle East and was used in perfumes.) Even though Grace learned nothing new about whales, it was a great exhibit.
We wandered around the museum and got to see the new Discovery area, it’s really meant for little kids, but that doesn’t mean that older kids can’t have some fun there too. We went home with 2 extra kids, then traded those 2 for 2 more that were spending the night at our house. It was a crazy evening.